Journal of hepatology. 2021-12-01; 75.6: 1465-1475.

Intestinal virome and therapeutic potential of bacteriophages in liver disease

Hsu C, Hsu CL, Duan Y, Fouts DE, Schnabl B

PMID: 34437908


Humans harbour a large quantity of microbes in the intestinal tract and have evolved symbiotic relationships with many of them. However, several specific bacterial pathobionts are associated with liver disease pathogenesis. Although bacteriophages (phages) and eukaryotic viruses (collectively known as "the virome") outnumber bacteria and fungi in the intestine, little is known about the intestinal virome in patients with liver disease. As natural predators of bacteria, phages can precisely edit the bacterial microbiota. Hence, there is interest in using them to target bacterial pathobionts in several diseases, including those of the liver. Herein, we will summarise changes in the faecal virome associated with fatty liver diseases and cirrhosis, and describe the therapeutic potential of phages and potential challenges to their clinical application.